Computer Skills Curriculum
Database Lesson Plan

Title: Databases Alive!

Other Curriculum Objectives that can be addressed by this lesson plan
English Language Arts 2.1, 2.2, 4.1; Social Studies: Skill Goal I, Skill Goal II; Computer Skills: (Gr. 5) 1.2; Information Skills 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 2.1, 2.2

Grade: 5
Competency 2.2: Identify database management terms (e.g., database, file, record, field/category, sort/arrange, select/search, report).

Measure 2.2.1: Given a list of database terms and definitions, match the term to the correct definition.

Materials Needed: Classroom file cabinet with one file folder containing several similar pages such as a form or pages containing fields of student name, address, age; telephone books (optional); index cards or slips of paper printed as Figure 1 for each student; hole punchers (optional); knitting needle or skewer.

Time: Two class sessions.

Terms: Database, File, Record, Field/Category, Sort/Arrange, Select/Search, Report



Activity 1:

  • 1. Divide the class into groups of three students each.
  • 2. Provide each group a handout with the database management terms of
    • database: collection of data organized for search and retrieval
    • file: a collection of related records
    • record: a collection or listing of related fields or categories
    • field/category: an item of information
    • sort/arrange: process of organizing the records in a database in a specific order, either alphabetically from A to Z or reverse alphabetically from Z to A or numerically from 0 to 9 or reverse numerically from 9 to 0.
    • select/search: process of choosing all records that meet or satisfy a statement, rule or criterion. A search may be based on a combination of statements, rules or criteria.
    • report: a display (on the screen or printed onto paper) of the records or parts of the records of a database that satisfy a particular search or sort.
  • 3. Use the classroom file cabinet as a visual as you discuss each of the first four terms.
  • 4. Have the groups discuss how a telephone directory is a database and match the following parts of the telephone book with the database terms on their handout: yellow pages, listings beginning with the letter A, the name Mark R. Jones, the number 704-992-0010, and the listing of restaurants in the yellow pages.

Activity 2:

  • 1. Provide each student an index card printed as shown in Figure 1.
  • 2. Have each student write his/her name on the line in the center of the card.
  • 3. As you ask each of the three questions below, have the students circle, in only one of the boxes, the word that is their answer to that question:
    • a. Are you a boy or a girl?
    • b. Which season of the year do you prefer? winter, spring, summer, fall
    • c. Of the four pizza toppings--cheese, pepperoni, hamburger, and mushrooms-- which do you like the best?
  • 4. Provide the students hole punchers to punch out EACH circle. Suggestion: If this will create a problem or take too much time, punch the holes prior to the activity.
  • 5. Instruct the students to punch out the square below all the options they did NOT circle.
  • 6. Collect the cards from the students. Stack the cards in the same direction.
  • 7. As you ask each of the following questions, have the students stand beside their desks. For each question, place a knitting needle or skewer through the holes in the cards for that response.
    	1.  Who are the boys in the class?
    	2.  Who are the girls in the class?
    	3.  Which students like summer best?
    	4.  Which students like winter best?
    	5.  Which students like pepperoni topping best?
    	6.  Which students like hamburger best?  
  • 8. Shake the pile to remove all other cards that do not satisfy the question. The only cards left on the skewer should belong to the students standing.
  • 9. Compare the cards with the group of standing students and discuss any differences. Ask the students to name this process. (sort or search?).
  • 10. Discuss how to select the cards to illustrate what does NOT satisfy a statement. (Examples: "Who are not boys"? would be all those not on the skewer (or those seated) when "boys" is the category selected. "Who does not like mushrooms best?" would be all those not on the skewer (or those seated) when you ask "Who likes mushrooms best?")
  • 11. Repeat the activity in #6 but insert NOT in each statement. Remind the students that this is still a select or search process.

                       Figure 1

Activity 3:

  • 1. Have the students describe the sort process of a database and state how that process is different from the search or select process they just did.
  • 2. Appoint a student to be the SORTER. Have the students stand beside their desk for the SORTER to arrange the students in the front of the room by height.
  • 3. Discuss if this sort was in numerical ascending order or descending order.
  • 4. Ask the students to identify differences between sort and select (i.e., use all students in a sort, fewer ways to sort (alphabetically or numerically)).
  • 5. Conclude the lesson by asking students to match the database terms with the following: student name, student, class, school population.


Use the database terms listed to write a paragraph starting with the story starter below:

We can use our school as an example of a database
with the entire school population being σσσ

Terms to use: database, record, file, field, sort, and select.